Via the always cutting Mistress Matisse, the latest weird mainstream look at my sex life:
I love that picture, because you know, that's exactly what I look like. Seriously. It's uncanny. Of course, like all people who dare to have a sexuality, I'm a 5'10" 110-pound blonde with D-cups and legs upta here, but they also nailed the way I dress. When I'm feeling sexy, I always put on $300 worth of awkward Catwoman costume. It gets me wet.
(Yeah, yeah, if the article was about gardening they'd give a hot underdressed model a trowel, I know it's not supposed to be strictly representational. But it bothers me that they can only depict alternative sexuality through the lens of mainstream sexuality, you know? By using a model so conventionally sexy, they dodge the question of why the kink itself is sexy. Everyone already knows why a slinky blonde in vinyl with a whip is hot; it's a lot more provocative to explore why a short pudgy dude in cotton underwear with a whip is hot. Although I guess that might sell fewer issues. Feh.)
Anyway, the article is supposedly about how having various "taboo" feelings is normal, but it ends up being an eerie retread of Cosmo's "it's okay to be kinky, as long as you aren't really kinky!" bullshit.
Unusual sexual practices are mostly harmless as long as they are part of a range of sexual responses. If you like dirty talk or get aroused by women's underwear, that's nothing to worry about unless it's the only thing that turns you on.
Why? If I'm not in significant distress or impairment--if I like women's underwear and I have a girlfriend who likes to have me play with her underwear and we live happily ever after--why is it so damn crucial that my kink be part-time? The message seems to be "it's okay to act kinky as long as you are vanilla."
Well. One of the things I've learned this year is that, sadly, I can't maintain a monogamous vanilla relationship. The happy flipside is I've also learned that I really can get spanked every time, and by a damn decent guy at that. Harm? The only harm happened because I got into a vanilla relationship in the first place--because I thought I could make my kink part-time.
For instance: A guy who can get off only when he's wearing diapers, or a woman who insists on dominating her partner. The person "is now substituting a behavior for a partner, and the behavior has become necessary for sexual satisfaction," sex educator and author Yvonne Fulbright explains.
Gosh, Yvonne, you could say that about all sex. If I can only get off when my partner penetrates my vagina, does that mean that penetration means more to me than he does? Is it somehow pathological that I'm "dependent" on penetration? Does it make my partner nothing to me but a faceless penetration machine?
It seems like a common media habit to equate kink with sex and vanilla with love. Hell, even in Secretary, which is about as sweetly kink-positive as a mainstream movie can get, you only know they're really in love when they lie down and cuddle vanilla-style. And, well, I certainly enjoy the cuddles, but there's nothing unemotional about a good beating. Mixing vanilla sex in a kinky relationship should be variety, not reassurance.
A little bit of kink is a good thing if it spurs open-mindedness and a spirit of adventure. But when an object or a ritual becomes more important than the living, breathing partner, it gets in the way of a relationship and of sexual fulfillment.
So again, it's about being a dabbler, about being a fundamentally "normal" person who merely experiments before getting back to correct sexuality. Kink as Ethiopian cuisine. Except that God help you if you're actually an Ethiopian chef, because jeez, that stuff's a great adventure and all, but you're not supposed to use it for food.